Zoom rolls out new advertising program for free accounts

Ads will be rolled out on the browser page users see once they end their meeting, and free Basic users in certain countries will see these ads if they join meetings that other free Basic users host.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

Zoom announced this week that it will be rolling out an advertising program for free Basic users that will show ads on the browser page that users see after a meeting ends.

The program only applies to free Basic users in certain countries when attending meetings hosted by others using free Basic accounts. 

Janine Pelosi, chief marketing officer at Zoom, said the company was making the decision to add advertising to the platform as a way to "support investment and continue providing free Basic users with access to our robust platform."

Pelosi repeatedly implies throughout the blog post that the video communications giant is rolling out the advertising program as a way to cover the cost of free Basic accounts. 

The company will be making changes to its Privacy Statement to reflect the new advertising but noted that right now, they do not plan to "use meeting, webinar, or messaging content (specifically, audio, video, files, and messages) for any marketing, promotions, or third-party advertising purposes."

"This change ensures that our free Basic users are able to continue connecting with friends, family, and colleagues with the same robust platform we have always offered," Pelosi said. 

"As the pandemic took hold in 2020, we experienced exponential growth, and our user base expanded from primarily enterprise users to include a large volume of individual users. Today, millions of users around the world continue to access Zoom's products and services for free. And it is important to Zoom that we can continue to provide our products and services to our users, drive innovation, and add even more value."

Pelosi added that users will see a banner on Zoom's website that provides a link to Zoom's cookie management tool.

Zoom's popularity exploded in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools and businesses to close and people to stay physically apart. Its video-conferencing platform facilitated virtual meetings, classes and birthday parties, and by the end of the company's FY 2021, "Zoom" had become a verb, and its revenue had jumped 326%.  

The company intends to expand -- and monetise -- its platform since gaining millions of new users throughout the pandemic. In July, Zoom unveiled Zoom Apps and its new virtual events platform, Zoom Events, both of which are designed to offer users a greater degree of collaboration, productivity and entertainment options within the Zoom meeting and desktop experience. 

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